Donald Trump’s unexpected presidential victory has already prompted a considerable body of political analysis, which will no doubt be extended and elaborated over the coming years as we all get to grips with the forces that propelled him to victory (or, conversely, which consigned Clinton to defeat).

In this post I want to comment on the geographic dimensions of Trumpsim. In particular how Trump’s victory reflects existing local geographies, while also potentially shaping global geographies in the future. I am particularly interested in the following two aspects:

  • The urban-rural divide, which pits predominantly Democratic urban areas against predominantly rural Republican areas; and
  • The consequences of self-sorting, whereby disaffected Democratic voters migrate to other countries.

To highlight the urban-rural divide, I think it’s useful to hone in on a state like Pennsylvania, which Trump managed to carry by a small margin (which was somewhat surprising in a historical context, given that the last time Pennsylvania was carried by a Republican presidential candidate was way back in 1988).

pennsylvania-election-results

Now consider a map of population density in Pennsylvania.

Striking huh? Population density is strongly positively correlated with levels of Democratic support. And from an initial look the same pattern seems to be present in many of the other swing states that Trump won over. The main conclusion is that Republican voters are considerably more likely to be drawn from suburban if not rural areas, while Democratic voters reside in urban areas.

Some of you might be thinking that urbanization may simply be a proxy for — rather than a cause of — political preferences. While this may be valid, the degree to which political preferences coalesce around geographical differences is nonetheless interesting. The reason being that this urban-rural divide is a telling backdrop to increasing political polarization, as illustrated in the figure below.

It’s hard enough to engage with people who hold different political views, let alone when many of them live many miles away. My point here is that geographic concentrations of political support may contribute to increasing political polarization. They may even support the formation of isolated ideological bubbles, within which political supporters (of both sides) feel “normal”. In these bubbles opportunities for engagement and even rapproachment between parties becomes less likely. Some might argue that the urban-rural divide in US politics is nothing new. There is some truth to this, and there’s obviously a need for more research and analysis, which I’ll leave to people who are more knowledgeable on these matters than I. The key point, however, is that geography and politics are really strongly intertwined, and that may not be good for fostering engagement.

The second geographic dimension to Trump’s victory was something that struck me when I was perusing Google analytic trends in the aftermath of Trump’s victory. I was interested to know whether there was a change in Google search trends for “moving to New Zealand”. There was as it turns out; the figure below shows worldwide trends for the phrase “moving to New Zealand” over the last five years. Notice anything in particular? Yes, two spikes; one small one in the wake of Brexit and another — more recent and much, much larger — spike in the wake of Trump’s victory.

1-moving-to-nz

To hone in on the latter, I next I filtered these results to searches from IP addresses registered in the US. This only served to strengthen the pattern shown above.

2-us-moving-to-nz

And then I zoomed in on trends during the last seven days.

3-moving-to-nz-from-us-last-week

By now it should seem obvious: Trump’s election has prompted an enormous spike in the number of people in the US who are searching the phrase “moving to New Zealand”. And I do mean enormous: The spike is unprecedented in recent history by a factor of about 30.

More interesting from a geographical perspective, however, is the fact that Google also provides a state-by-state breakdown on the origins of the Google searches, as shown below. Here, we can see that searches were higher (in relative terms) in states like Oregon and Colorado, for example. I can think of two reasons why this may be the case: 1) there are a large number of Democratic voters in these states and 2) they have similar natural environments to New Zealand.

4-geographic-origins

It’s interesting to compare the map above to that below, which shows the winner of Presidential votes in each state.

5-electoral-map

Again, the spatial patterns are rather striking. It seems that Trump’s victory has prompted many people who live in predominantly Democratic states to consider moving to New Zealand. The degree to which this flows through into actual migration is, of course, a separate question, and one that we’ll only know the answer to in a couple of years’ time.

At first glance this seems to provide evidence of “self-sorting” at both the local and international levels. That is, people with similar preferences are tending to concentrate in particular locations. And this is something that may have real ramifications. Think of the close elections in states like Florida, for example. Even a relatively small exodus of Democratic voters from key states to countries like New Zealand, Australia, and Canada might be sufficient to flip a state from one candidate to the next (NB: Google searches for moving to the latter two countries also spiked in the aftermath of Trump’s victory).

I can understand why people might move in response to such events and, in fact, I’d probably consider doing the same. From New Zealand’s perspective the ramifications of such migration are relatively benign, and even positive. On the other hand, I can’t shake the bad feeling I have when the direct outcome of a political process (as opposed to indirect consequences, such as changes in policy settings) is sufficiently traumatic to cause people to migrate to another country.

From a U.S. perspective this also looks rather bad, unless you’re the most ardent Republican supporter who just wants everyone else to sod off. I personally don’t think there’s many people like this.

Regardless of what you happen to think about Trump, this data suggests that he has alienated people to a sufficient degree that they are considering upping sticks and moving to more tolerant climes. That of course may have ramifications for migration, housing, and transport Down Under.

Interested in hearing your thoughts.

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66 comments

  1. The search results seem to have dropped back to their average / norm within a couple of days right? Or did I misread that?
    So you wouldn’t think these results suggest any real decision to move / do anything… a massive life event that might take more than a day’s internet research, no?
    Also what are the search results in comparison to other countries..? We may be just one of a generic basket of English speaking countries to run away to that were searched for I’d suggest.

    1. Yes levels did drop back. The key question, of course, is how many people follow through, and how long that takes. I heard some separate reports of Immigration New Zealand’s website receiving much more traffic over recent weeks.

      I think you’re perhaps at risk of glossing over the key points though:
      – Similar spikes didn’t occur in the wake of the last election; and
      – If people do move then this can create a positive feedback loop for the politicians involved.

      I wouldn’t underestimate how mobile some people are, and how such events can prompt people to move. Especially when the crazy is sustained over a period of time. So all these people are sitting there feeling uncertain about their future. In the event that Trump follows through on some of his more controversial policies, or gets re-electe, then this may prompt them to act. Such actions may only manifest over the next 5-10 years, depending on what happens.

      Trickles turn into floods etc.

      Search results for other English speaking countries were similar. I’d suggest that only amplifies the issues from the U.S.’s perspective: Many more Americans may be moving to Canada and Australia.

      1. I would also suggest it is a symptom of a social media meme – many famous people before the election made reference to “leaving”… how serious certainly remains to be seen for sure.

        I guess the Brexit ‘spike’ and lack? of follow through (so far) would suggest that the internet puts many things at your fingertips but doesn’t exercise your legs.

        1. Has there been a lack of follow through? When you take a longer perspective?

          Last time I looked net gain from permanent long term arrivals was going pretty strong in NZ’s favour! In fact it was at record highs. Think about it this way:
          – Brexit in the UK
          – Trump inn the US
          – Duterte in the Phillipines
          – Maduro in Venezeula
          – The Hoff in Austria
          – Putin in Russia

          Turkey, Poland, and Hungary … the list of increasingly autocratic rulers is getting rather extensive.

          None of the aforementioned political issues would — on their own — catalyse a big shift, but when you add them up then you start to get the picture of a world in turmoil. Meanwhile NZ’s political ship seems to sail on steady as an Optimist (not that we don’t have our challenges).

          Given the international backdrop, I’d expect more and more people to migrate to NZ.

          That’s my two cents anyway.

          1. NZ is doing well – economically and socially – I am in favour of immigration and believe it is a good, positive thing for NZ and that there should be a lot more of it (another post / debate),
            But I don’t believe these one off events specifically Brexit and the US election will do much to increase real immigration, just my opinion but they appear to show ‘knee jerk’ reactions.

          2. I don’t disagree that these things tend to evolve over time.

            But there’s also a need to look out for critical “tipping points”. I believe NZ hit one of these critical points in the late 70s and early 80s when through a combination of bad luck and bad management we had to negotiate oil shocks, Muldoon, UK joining the EEC etc. The net result was the country was fiscally bankrupt and economically stagnant, which manifested i in large population outflows. I would say that it took NZ the best part of two decades to recover from these shocks. Yes we eventually got there, but it took a lot of sweat, blood and tears.

            In this case, I believe Trump may be a major shock for many in the US. It seems that many people are truly amazed that their fellow citizens and political system could see someone like Trump elected. Sure, the initial knee-jerk reaction may not result in much follow through. But remember that the shock of Muldoon’s policies also didnt manifest overnight.

            So let’s watch this space carefully!

        2. The lack of Brexit follow-through may also gave a lot to do with media messages such as the ongoing high profile New Zealand section in the Guardian. They’ve run a lot of reality check articles highlighting house prices, homelessness, lack of truth behind the 100% pure branding, health and poverty issues. If it’s “progressive” voters looking to move these sure would have quickly had an impact, and anecdotally I sure know that cost of living (aka Auckland housing prices) have certainly deterred people from moving here…

          1. As an aside – the Guardian really has been promoting New Zealand news recently, we get sent stuff from friends in the UK which we haven’t seen yet in the news which is either 1) kind of funny that the UK media is taking such an interest, or 2) a sad indictment of the effectiveness of NZ media..

            Probably the latter.

            Although, I do look forward to the yearly article on the Guardian and BBC looking at the messed up baby names we’ve given children here – Superman, 4Real, Benson & Hedges (twins) etc

          2. Good point – and it’s been heartening to see the Guardian putting forward a nuanced perspective on what is good/bad about NZ. The worst case outcome would be if people were motivated to pack up their life and move here, but did so under the illusion (delusion?) that she’ll be perfect mate. The reality is anything but, and you want to make sure that people know that before they come.

          3. As a long time Guardian reader (50+ years) I can tell you that up until about 6 months ago there was virtually nothing in the Guardian about New Zealand, and anything reported was inevitably about rugby.
            Then it suddenly changed and now there is one per day, at least about NZ. Maybe it was those surveys I filled in writing that I was in NZ?
            More likely to do with the Guardian having an Australian version and we are on those coat tails.
            Having been in the UK and Ireland this year I can tell you that the vast majority of people I spoke with all gushed that I was so lucky to be going back to New Zealand! There really is an exaggerated view of how good life is here.

  2. What of this analysis is relevant to this Auckland Transport Blog?
    My guess is Republican voters are most likely less well served public transport services and not willing to pay for urban transport services they never use.

    1. Let me join those dots for ya:

      Democratic outcomes + Human geography + Local and international migration = Effects on transport and housing in Auckland.

      If this was a case of TransportBlog bingo then I think I’d be winning?

      As an aside, we — being those who volunteer our time — decide what’s relevant, so this is essentially a case of you having to eat ya meat or you don’t get no pudding.

  3. I think it’s just a emotional initial response that people who are caught up in the process have. Americans in particular go to the extremes of everything, including emotion (this is not a bad thing, and helps make america the patriotic country it is), and I think when the dust settles the actual numbers of people moving from the US because of the elections or similar events will actually be negligible in the end. Will be interesting to see available numbers at the end of next year.

    1. I’d question that characterization, for similar reasons that I wrote above in response to John. That is, a similar spike did not occur in the wake of the previous election.

      Also important to note that political disenchantenment can grow slowly over time. If there is a sustained period of political turmoil in the US, e.g. if Trump goes full cray, then many of these people who were prompted to search may well be pushed over the edge into applying.

      I would see it as a signal that something is not right with ye olde US of A.

      1. I don’t think the previous election result was much of a surprise. The fact that Trump won isn’t unusual, it is the fact that the polls and media had told people he would lose that turned it into a shock result. Expectations were wrong, reality is what it is. Same with Brexit. Just getting a result you didn’t expect is probably a wake up for many people and prompted them to google other options. The more interesting issue is why were the polls so wrong? Have they over-corrected for young people not having landlines? Is it the turnout model that is wrong? Is it that many on the left apply nasty labels to anyone they don’t agree with that makes more people on the right stay quiet when a stranger asks their view? Whatever it is you have to take the view that the shock was caused by the polls and not by the election. The sample was inaccurate, not the population.

        1. The two main causes of differences between polls and election results would seem to be:
          – nonrepresentative samples; and
          – inaccurate turnout predictions.

          I wouldn’t say the polls were too bad though: end result popular vote wise seems to be within 2% of average. Of course those errors blow out at state level where the sample sizes are smaller (exacerbating the aforementioned issues).

          1. The problem was the media, echoed and amplified by social media chatter. There was a story being told, that Trump is a joke (OK, I agree with that), this is just a bit of excitement that will die down as Clinton is elected, which is bound to happen as it’s the sensible choice etc. etc.

            The polls didn’t really lie. They always said the race was pretty close, with Clinton’s lead often being within the margin of error (which of course the media simply ignore). Even when her lead was larger a few weeks before polling, we were being told that the chances of Trump winning were around 30%, and this being called “unlikely”. 30% isn’t unlikely, it’s pretty damn likely. That’s like rolling a dice and calling it unexpected or a shock when you get a 1 or 2, when you were expecting a 3,4, 5 or 6.

          2. Other than predicting the wrong winner there was nothing wrong with the polls. Trump won convincingly and might get as many as 306 electors when he only needed 269 for a tie. The popular vote doesn’t even get you a certificate for participation. Given they largely know which states were in play you would expect the polls to do better. You dont even have to ask in most states. The problem they face is some people dont do what they say and some people dont say what they will do and both are hard to correct for. Left wing comedian Jonathan Pie has a theory of why people are reluctant to engage. Too much swearing to link it here but it is worth checking on youtube. Look for President Trump: How and Why.

          3. Like I said, average poll had Clinton up 3-4 percentage points nationally just prior to election. Average polling error is +- 3 points, and that’s assuming a representative sample (which never happens). 538.com even wrote an article in week before election outlining 5 ways Trump could win, one of which involved winning Florida and flipping a couple of rust-belt states, i.e. what happened.

            In a nutshell: polls generally don’t predict winners unless there’s a really large gap.

          4. Like I said who gives a damn about the countrywide polling or votes? The last polls in Wisconsin had Clinton 8 points ahead of Trump with a claimed error of 1.7%. She was thrashed. In Pennsylvania Clinton the average of polls showed her ahead by 4% but they had 9% for other. The other included undecided in the battleground states went overwhelmingly to Trump. Does anyone really believe people were undecided about which of those two polarising candidates they would vote for? More likely if they were undecided it was over whether they would turn up for Hillary. Or just as likely Trump voters were more prone to not telling their views. You called it an unexpected result. The result was probably inevitable, it was unexpected because of the polling being wrong where it mattered.

        2. The polls and forecasts weren’t actually that wrong. Nate Silver gave Trump a 1 in 3 chance. 1 in 3 is about the frequency which Beauden Barret misses a kick at goal and he is known for being an inconsistent kicker. The reason there was so much uncertainty in Silver’s forecasts is that there were 3 or 4% of voters undecided in the polls, Clinton got the 47% vote polls predicted but the undecideds didn’t break her way.

          1. And the polling errors were largest in rustbelt states which happen to he 1) more competitive in general and 2) more competitive for Trump in particular. Correlated error terms and all that jazz.

      2. Where would disaffected Republican voters go? Every other industrialised nation is further to the left than the US. Certainly, NZ with its public health care service would be off the table.

        1. I think by their nature they stay put. We have just ordered a copy of Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance. His idea is that the Scots-Irish Americans have the most persistent but negative culture and make up a sizeable part of the working class Trump supporters. They moved to the rustbelt in droves for factory jobs and have stayed put since the factories closed. Bill Clinton told them it was the economies fault they were out of work. Obama through his example of success made them feel like failures. Hillary said they were a basket of deplorables. Then Trump told them it is foreigners fault they are poor. They know it has nothing to do with their own choices to not bother too much with education.

          1. I’ve been watching People’s Century and the final episode talks extensively about the topic of failing western manufacturing and the the effect of globalisation on people who relied on these jobs. That was 1997.

            I really don’t know what the solution is. The economic situation is in a similar state to when industrialisation began in the early nineteenth century. People were initially angry that their traditional cottage industries were wiped out extremely quickly. In the long term it led to massive increases in economic output and ultimately a better society but people living through those times wouldn’t have seen that. I believe new industries will eventually take over to exploit that labour pool, but it will require a long term effort and many people won’t be able to adapt to it.

          2. In a big-picture, long-term sense, there are two key mechanisms that allow *individuals* to raise their living standards within the context of an overall social and economic arrangement:
            1. Education or professional training
            2. Migration (either within or between countries)

            In the US, inter-regional mobility has declined continuously since the 1980s, meaning that people are less likely to move away from economically declining areas. I’d argue that making it easier to migrate within the US would ease the political and economic challenges of dealing with asymmetric economic decline and growth (ie Detroit vs Silicon Valley).

          3. Both education and migration require a positive outlook- a view that there will always be something else. Part of the rustbelt problem appears to be a view that things were great, now they are not so we need someone to make them great again. Problem is those states peaked at a time when the rest of the world was either at war or broken after wars. Harking back to the early 1950’s because your parents were able to earn big money in semi-skilled jobs isn’t a reasonable plan. It leaves them open to being used by dodgy politicians “It’s the economy stupid” Bill Clinton or “We’re gunna make America great again” Donald Trump. The stuff I have been reading suggests the only viable answer is U-Haul.

          4. Yes, exactly. Cultural attitudes are certainly a barrier to moving to more successful places.

            Personally, if it weren’t for migration I’d probably be voting Brexit in some shuttered mill town in Northern England. Prior to migrating to NZ my family had basically been in the same position on the social ladder for pretty much forever. Glad we got out.

        2. They don’t go anywhere, for those who watched the 2012 election the answer is clear, when Obama won the first thought some voters was not to move but secession.

  4. Part of the result is not so much Trump winning but Hillary losing a state. In Wisconsin Trump got around the same as Mitt Romney did (+1501). But Hillary was several hundred thousand below Obama (-238,775). I think the last time the Democrats lost there was to Ronald Reagan in 1984.
    The big issue for the Democrats is they need to come up with a fairer way of selecting their candidate. The Clinton money just blew the others away despite the fact that Hillary had more baggage to carry than any recent candidate. Between the Super delegates and the huge financial disparity the other people never had a prayer.

  5. First, I doubt we will see significant number of Americans migrating – all those so-called celebrities who said they would leave if Trump won most have changed their mind or said it was hyperbole. Anyway, time will tell if we get any serious number coming here.
    However, I am more interested in the sharp divide that is appearing in the US. I don’t think we are seeing that here for a lot of reasons. To me this shows that as a country gets larger it actually needs more devolution but in the US the trend has been the opposite. I think this is the warning I would take from this: in NZ we need local communities – such as Auckland – having more control of its affairs. If this was the case then national issues get reduced and maybe the heat is taking out of the debate.

    1. You may be right, although I wouldn’t present celebrities as a yard-stick; they would seem to have the most to lose by leaving. NZ aren’t a great place to be a celebrity, IMO.

      Otherwise I tend to agree with you in terms of devolution etc. And especially in terms of NZ’s political debate benig wonderfully moderate by comparison. Something to be thankful for.

      1. Yes, celebrities are not the yardstick – but they are highly mobile given their wealth. Maybe our moderation has led to our problems though? Just a thought.

        1. I’m not sure the practicising ones are that mobile?

          But your question is a good one. I would say that we need to be passionately moderate, rather than moderately indifferent?!?

  6. There are some interesting issues here.

    There’s a strong moral argument that those who oppose Trump actually have a strong duty to remain in America to ensure that his worst excesses are restricted – the “loyal opposition.” Unless they are going to set up a Gaullist alternative government in Motueka? Which would be rather brilliant

    Then there’s the strong moral argument that regardless who the leader is, if he were elected by a legal, democratic process, your loyalty is to him/her and you shouldn’t run off because you disagree. We aren’t talking about a coup or invastion here.

    Last but not least, the practical argument: Trump will be gone in 4 years if not sooner. He may be in jail inside a year. Why move to NZ when you could just wait?

    1. I personally don’t think the moral argument for staying is very strong. As an ordinary citizen you have very little influence on outcomes across a country as large as the U.S. You could make the same case about almost everyone who migrated to NZ in the first instance; few were the direct result of a coup or an invasion.

      The other thing to consider is that people are forward-looking. Would you wait until war breaks out before jumping ship? Or go early? Maybe it’s my (part Jewish) heritage but I’d personally opt for the latter. As soon as a political leader starts acting like a silly goose to the degree that Trump is then I’d be out of there before the bombs start falling — along with the chance of migration.

      I tend to agree with your practical argument. Although this introduces an interesting question: If you were in the US, and considering going on an OE, then wouldn’t now be an ideal time? And then the question becomes: How many never go back?

        1. Yes, if you multiply a small number you get a big number. Correlation not causation; I personally wouldn’t tolerate much more cray from Trump on the hope that thousands if not millions of other people collectively act and that this action changes his policies. Especially if I had family who were at risk.

    2. I would never argue that people should stay in a situation where they fear for their lives, safety, or livelihoods. That, to me, is immoral. It’s like saying that battered women should stay in abusive relationships to try and better their abusers.

      I take a different view: When you’ve reached the point where the outcomes of elections feel apocalyptic to large groups of citizens, you’ve reached a point where basic political institutions are very, very broken. Something has to change to moderate outcomes. Unfortunately, it won’t: trends towards polarisation and America’s screwed up electoral system virtually guarantee the opposite.

      1. I don’t think the election will lead to apocalyptic change. In 4 years, America will look very similar to how it looks now. There will be changes around the edges, sure, but we aren’t going to see Mad Max descending. The rhetoric about change is always much more dramatic than the reality – even countries occupied during war bounce back in a hurry. Humanity is insanely resilient.

        Aren’t their some things more important than individual safety/livelihood? Is patriotism so dead that we see countries purely for the economic advantages they can deliver us rather than symbols of national pride? A country isn’t a husband – we all owe a duty to our country and leaving because we don’t agree with the new political direction strikes me as disloyal. Perhaps it’s just me but I work just as hard for John Key as I did for Helen Clark even though I voted for the lattter but never the former.

        What do you think was the correct response for a Frenchman under Nazi occupation in WW2 – collaboration or resistance?

  7. I struggle to make sense of the post. The factual underpinning is speculative at best.

    It is nice with contributors that have their own political beliefs but its worth considering the impact of the website. The more ideological posts that appear the less impact the entire site will have. And with this having been a gigantic success that have influenced decision makers and impressed stakeholders I really hope that the site does not become another advocate for its own political beliefs and is put under the vested interest label.

    id thus ask the contributors to reflect on their posts, are they impartial and do they serve the blog well. Will they assist the blog in its purpose to serve as a channel where transport is discussed from a best practice standpoint and not an ideological one.

    I fear that political posts such as this one will make the blog, which is today a force in Auckland transport politics, lose its ability to influence stakeholders.

    The entire debate around the US election have been biased. We don’t need more of it, instead reflection wouldn’t hurt. In a democracy the best candidate wins and in this election his name was Trump. There is widespread distrust of media and politicians in most of the western world. Trump, brexit and the rise of protest candidates has just started and we are more likely to see the trend increase rather than decrease.

    Facts: No democratically elected president in the Philippines have had higher support ratings than Duterte and Philippines was just named Asias fastest growing economy (economic growth at 7.1% – best in class).
    Facts: Austrian voters, according to recent polling does not believe that their government has been strict enough in handling the refugee crisis. There is a push for them to do exactly whats been done in neighbouring states and build a wall on especially the southern border.

    Lets do our best to resist the urge to bring ones own political advocacy and beliefs into an otherwise very good website.

    1. I read a completely different article to what you did, there is very little overt political bias in this post that I can see. To me it reads as though you have read the title, assumed it will be another rant against Trump, and therefore read the entire article from that perspective. I can’t see any mention of Duterte or Austrian voters in the actual post

      1. the post has been edited. There were references to Austria and Philippines that have disappeared now (not cool).
        Edit: actually im wrong it’s in a comment below

        1. The post has not been edited in the way you mention.

          I appreciate your desire for the blog to be effective. We do too. Part of that requires engaging with political issues, because transport and land use are often impacted by politics.

          So when we see political outcomes that we think are interesting and relevant then we will comment on them. In this instance, I think there’s lots of reasons why Trumps election is relevant.

          The first reason is that if people migrate here, then that will have implications for housing and transport. The second is that the geographic patterns seen in trumps elections could be relevant to NZ.

          I haven’t commented on his politics in the post itself. I have expressed in the comments, which I think i appropriate.

          Good day to you.

    2. Stu’s post is factual, focused on issues of economic and political geography (relevant to urban and transport policy, I would think), and does not comment extensively on whether it was a good thing that Trump will be president. In other words, it’s not ideological at all.

      Personally, as a dual citizen of NZ and the US, I’m appalled by Trump and appalled that the broken US electoral system has, for the second time in my lifetime, appointed as president the candidate who won fewer votes. Clinton won the popular vote, but she won’t be president because the Electoral College effectively disenfranchises people in California. This result will lead to a series of negative consequences for US residents and the world in general, not least of which will be the end of our hopes to forestall the worst effects of climate change.

      I’m not going to make this a focus of my blogging, because my views on US politics are usually irrelevant to transport and urban policy in New Zealand, but I’m not going to be quiet on the issue either. This is an awful thing to happen, and I refuse to normalise it. Duterte is also awful – death squads??? – as are the revanchist fascists in Austria, regardless of popularity.

      PS: The overwhelming majority of New Zealanders preferred Clinton.

    3. “I fear that political posts”

      You realise that:
      a) transport decisians are political, and
      b) discussing politics doesn’t involve an inherent political stance?

    4. One more comment: I think you misunderstand the aforementioned discussion about duterte et al. The key issue is not whether *I* think those leaders are autocratic, but whether their citizens do. You say that they’re popular, which is possible. But i suspect there’s still a sizeable minority of people who are disaffected by those leaders. And the key thing is where do they go if they are sufficiently aggrieved that they migrate? Most won’t come to NZ, but some will – and i wouldn’t blame them if they did.

      So id encourage you to read the post and my comments in that light.

  8. That Pew Research Center graphic is (unintentionally?) brilliant. Apart from clearly showing increasing polarisation, the two political humps appear in the last frame to be regarding each other with distaste, shoulders hunched.

  9. The rural bias is the most interesting aspect to me. Hillary won Pennsylvania quite convincingly on the popular vote (49.4% to 46.6%), but obviously lost the state. 1 rural voter gets a lot more say than 1 urban voter. And that gets replicated all around the US. Not a particularly fair and open democratic model if you ask me.

    1. No she lost the state 47.65% to Trump’s 48.75% finishing 67,600 votes behind him. (The numbers above are for the County of Dauphin only). The problem with their first past the post is his lead of 67600 gets him all 20 electoral college votes and she gets none. On the other hand she won a bunch of other states overwhelmingly and her majority in those states end up as wasted votes. FPP is used in all except two states which use only a slightly better version with 2 electoral votes statewide and the others allocated FPP based on smaller congressional districts. The interesting argument they have is redistricting within states where the congressional districts boundaries change. The majority side tries to ‘Pack and Crack’ where you let the opposition win well in a few areas but lose only just in more.

    1. The liberal elite? Rather divisive choice of language don’t you think? And how would you describe yourself? As part of the conservative elite?

  10. All observers should be alarmed by the increasing polarisation of the US which doesn’t bode well for the future if left unchecked.

    There are differences between US and NZ which helps to explain why there hasn’t been that degree of separation between dynamic urban/north versus decaying town/south here. Seismic events last week again will ensure an enforced roll out of Keynesian Economics as vast pots of money stimulate the economies of the southern half of New Zealand for the next wave of rebuilds. The construction industry has never been so busy and this activity touches most, if not all corners of the country. Tourism and (up till recently) the Dairy Industry of course have been other big money earners that spread wealth away from urban New Zealand.

    Fixing up the rust belt of the US will take a lot of money. Obama got part way there for the US in general with his post GFC stimulus measures. But now that those swing states are well and truly in the limelight, both political parties will seek to demonstrate their support for them. It is hard to read Donald Trump’s real position on all sorts of things, but he may yet turn out to have a benign attitude to transit, smart growth, and regional high speed rail if it helps restore economic growth to his support base.

    1. If Trump can direct the economic anger that he has captured at improving the rust belt economy through better connections and increased opportunities rather than racist scapegoating then he may go down as a great president. Unfortunately his staff picks so far are not ideal to say the least.

      1. The US economy is doing well at present and a lot of people are still unhappy. I’d say Trump has very little chance of keeping his supporters satisfied even with 2-3 per cent growth.

  11. The ‘adventure journal’ post election poll of places you would bail to, has new zealand second behind staying in usa, ahead of a whole bunch of great places to live. Completely unscientific but still an expression of interest from a demographic of anti trump voters. Sort of back up your idea.

  12. NZ has a two party urban/rural divide so what is the point of this post? We didn’t vote for our Prime Minister. We don’t have a silly FPP system which perpetuates a duopoly.

    I don’t think it is a rural/urban issue. I think it is a rich/poor issue. The top 30% control 90% of the wealth and it is getting worse. While the other 70% fight over the scraps, missing the real problem. I actually bet on Trump winning based on how angry average americans are at the government for allowing such inequality to arise. Trump isnt the solution, but he seemed more likely than Hillary.

    Part of the problem is that the left-wing media and social media sold Trump as Hitler 2.0 and all the sheeple in their echo chambers believed it.They are afraid of the story, not the reality. I think the US in 4 years will look much similar to the US of today.

    And people stick with what they know. Why is it that north shore is full of South Africans, South Auckland full of polynesians, the CBD, Mt Roskill and Howick full of asians? They move to areas where their family and friends are. People also tend to vote the same as their parents regardless of whether the party policies are beneficial to them or not.

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